FEATURED QUOTE :
"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."
Looking for a great gift for Mother's Day? This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This journal, autographed personally by Paul, makes a great gift. The cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a heavy-duty D-ring binder.
- 8 tabbed sections
- 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags...
- Weather records page
- 6 three year journal pages
- Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
- 3 annual checklist pages
- Plant wish list page
- 2 large pocket pages
- Sheet of garden labels
- 5 garden detail sheets
- 5 graph paper pages for layouts
- 5 photo pages, each holding four 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format
Click here to order online.
Call all your gardening friends and tell them where to find Paul!
New Radio Stations:
Boston Rush Radio 1200 A.M. WXKS 7:30 to 9:00
Beverly 1570 A.M. WNSH 6:00 to 8:00
Cape Cod 95.1 FM WXTK
Concord 1420 AM WBNW
Concord 1120 AM WLIS
Lowell 980 AM WCAP
Milford 1490 AM WMRC
Worcester 830 AM WCRN
New Radio Stations for April:
Pittsfield Mass WBES 1420 AM
Bangor Maine WZON 103.1 FM
Avon Park Florida WSHT 1390 AM
Coming in May--3 more new Radio stations to listen to the Paul Parent Garden Club!
Don't let ticks and Lyme disease hold you hostage inside this Spring and Summer. Damminix Tick Tubes® are here to let you Take Back The Outdoors!
Lyme Disease is spread by hard-to-reach deer ticks. You realize the key to protecting against Lyme is controlling your exposure to these ticks, but how? You need an intelligent tick control solution that lets you, your children and your pets safely enjoy the outdoors. Your solution is Damminix Tick Tubes®.
It is well known that deer spread ticks infected with Lyme disease. However, did you know that these same ticks get Lyme disease from mice, not deer? Damminix Ticks Tubes® rely on the natural nesting instincts of mice to take the battle to source and deliver tick controlling permethrin directly to this host animal and the ticks it infects.
Damminix Tick Tubes® are biodegradable cardboard tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls. Mice collect the cotton to build their nests. Deer ticks that feed on mice in the spring and the fall are exposed to permethrin and killed. All the while, the mice, other mammals and your lands are unharmed and undisturbed.
Damminix Tick Tubes®:
- Provide an environmentally friendly, easy to use and precisely targeted solution to kill deer ticks.
- Have proven results of up to a 10-fold reduction of exposure to a tick that could give you Lyme disease.
- Do not expire, are EPA approved and made in the USA.
Click here for more information .
The most popular and earliest spring flowering perennial in the garden is the ground phlox.
When I see this plant in bloom, I know that spring is here to stay and that it is time to get the perennial garden cleaned, weeded, fertilized and mulched quickly.
The ground phlox will do best in a location with full sun but will appreciate a little shade if planted in a hot spot in your yard.
The garden should have average to rich well-drained soil; the better you prepare the soil the better the plants will do.
Ground Phlox need little to no care in your garden once established.
Unlike its tall growing brother the Tall Phlox, this plant is disease free and does not develop powdery mildew.
Plant in the front of the garden, as it only grows 3 to 4 inches tall.
If not divided, the plant will grow to over three feet in diameter in just a few years.
The Ground Phlox will grow just beautifully on top of a wall and cascade down several inches.
Phlox can also be planted in open spaces in a stone wall and will help to better hold the wall together during the winter.
When they finish flowering, shear them clean of faded flowers and seedpods.
This cleaning will encourage additional new growth.
In the spring, lift the edges of the mound and remove any winter debris, loosen the soil under the plant, and firm in place for a better-rooted plant.
Once the plant makes new roots, you can easily divide with a shovel by cutting clumps from the main plant.
This is a great way to make new plants from overgrown clumps.
As the plant ages it does have a tendency of dying from the center with healthy edges.
Dig the entire plant, clean, remove dead areas and plant the new divisions.
The flowers have five petals, 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.
The flowers form a carpet of color on the top of the green foliage.
The flowers form on the plant in early to mid-April and come in shades of lavender, purple, pink and white.
Also available--but more expensive--are the new cultivars with two-tone flowers.
Look for 'Candy Cane'-- pink flowers with a white edge--and 'Scarlet Flame' with red and pink flowers.
The flowers will last on the plant for 4 to 6 weeks depending on the outside temperatures and rainfall.
When the flowers fall from the plant, you will notice that the needlelike foliage under the flower resembles the evergreen plant called a yew.
Feed in the spring with a general-purpose granular flower garden fertilizer like Flower-Tone or Converted Organics Garden Food.
Because the plant grows on the front of the garden, it will get grass from the lawn growing in it.
Spray the garden in May when the grass is young with "Over the Top 2" and the grass will die out without hurting the perennials.
Tell your garden center to order it for you from Arrett Sales if they do not carry it now.
If I were to give you a plate with two piles of string beans--the first a pile of fresh picked beans from your garden and the second from a can, which pile of string beans would you eat? I think that most of you would choose the fresh picked beans, so why not consider growing them in your garden this year?
Beans are easy to grow, taste delicious and are good for you to boot.
Let us begin with the bush bean, as it requires less room, less work and is great for beginners.
Bush beans are called determinate because they only grow to a certain height, flower, make fruit and stop growing.
You pick those tasty beans and throw the plant on your compost pile--the crop is finished.
For a couple of weeks you have a great harvest and it is over, so if you like bush beans, plant only a few feet of rows now, skip a week or two and then plant another section of beans.
I plant May 1, May 15, May 30 and June 15 and June 30.
This gives me fresh beans until mid to late September.
Beans will not germinate well if the soil is cold, and you are not doing them a favor.
Cold soil will slow down the germination, making the row have many skips where the seed did not germinate.
Also if the soil is cold you have a better chance of disease developing on the seedlings, and your production will be lower.
Bush beans love full sun and a well-drained soil that contains compost, peat moss, or animal manure.
Beans are a unique plant as they have the capability of making their own Nitrogen fertilizer from a bacteria nodule that lives on its roots.
The bean is a member of the legume family, like peas.
When you purchase your bean seeds at the garden center ask for bean inoculate powder.
Place the bean seeds in a bag with a bit of inoculate powder and shake until the bean seeds are coated with the black powder and then plant.
Using this bean inoculate will more than double the production of your bean crop! Plant beans 1 inch deep and 3 to 4 inches apart, rows should be 3 feet apart.
Starting the seed indoors for a jump on the season is not recommended, so plant directly in the garden when the soil is 60 degrees.
Unlike the bush type, pole beans need support to grow on for the best crop.
This vine plant is indeterminate and keeps growing all season long, but without support, it will not produce any beans.
Build a trellis with string or netting for them to grow on 6 to 8 feet tall.
You can also use a tall pole with strings running down the pole from the top to the ground like a pyramid to grow on.
Anchor the string to the ground with stakes and the beans will grow by wrapping around the string or netting and will climb to the top easily.
Plant the seeds in groups of 4 to 6 seeds at every string at the base of the pole or if using netting, every 3 to 4 inches apart along the netting.
Pole beans are the king of production and produce more beans per plant than the bush type.
Pole beans are sweeter, tenderer and I think better tasting.
Pole beans tend to stay tender on the vine longer than the bush.
Pole beans freeze very well and keep better than the bush type in the freezer.
Water the bean plants regularly and keep the soil moist (never wet though, or disease could be a problem).
Avoid overhead watering with a sprinkler if possible.
Fertilize with organic fertilizer like Dr.
Earth vegetable food with Pro-biotic every 4 weeks or use Miracle-Gro every 2 weeks.
Keep beans away from onions, beets, radishes and the cabbage family.
Plant beans in a different part of the garden each year for the best crop.
Pick when beans are young and the seed has not developed in the pod yet.
As I look out my window this time of the year my eyes search for a small tree planted near my driveway called the Purple Leaf Flowering Plum.
It is unique because the trunk and the branches of this tree are black and really stand out among other trees in the yard.
Last week, the flower buds started to swell and in just the last couple of days, the flowers opened, covering the black branches with deep pink blossoms.
The flowers are 1 z' inch in diameter, with single petals that are fragrant.
These flowers will last for three weeks or more depending on the rain and wind, as they are delicate like the flowering cherry trees.
About a week or two after the flowers open, the new growth will begin to develop--and this is when it gets exciting for me.
The new growth is purple-branches, foliage, and all.
The new purple growth, paired with the pink flowers on the black branches, really stands out on a green lawn.
The Purple Leaf Plum will grow 15 to 20 feet tall and wide when matured.
You can expect 12 to 15 inches of new growth each year, so it is a fast-growing small tree.
The leaves are oval shaped, with a point on the tip and a smooth edge.
These leaves will grow 2 to 3 inches long and about 1 inch wide.
As they emerge and develop, the foliage will be bronze-purple and will mature to deep reddish purple.
It will stay this wonderful color all summer long and really stand out in your yard.
The colored foliage on this tree is more beautiful than the flowers because it will last right up to the frost in the fall.
The tree is thick with leaves and some years if we get a lot of hot sunshine, the inner foliage will fade to deep green, but the outside leaves stay purple.
The Flowering Plum does not have fruit and is a clean tree for your yard.
It is very hardy and will tolerate a wide open growing area with wind.
The Purple Leaf Plum will look great when planted alone in a garden with underplantings of perennials or annuals.
Plant the Purple Leaf Plum in a row along your driveway or along your property line.
When the trees are used as a barrier, they are striking to look at and will give your property great lines.
I like them because the tree has no disease problems with the foliage, unlike flowering crabapples.
Fertilize them in the spring when in bloom to help produce more foliage and flower buds for next year.
I use Plant Tone and the new Plant Thrive with Mycorrhizae bacteria fertilizer to help them get established when young.
The flowering Plum loves a rich soil, so add plenty of compost or peat moss when planting.
The roots are shallow and a layer of bark mulch or compost on the planting bed really helps the tree at all seasons.
When you first buy the tree, it will be upright growing because of how it was grown in the nursery.
Once you plant it in your yard, it will s pread out and get wide in just a few years.
The tree will grow best in a well-drained soil with no standing water.
During hot dry summers, when rain is hard to come by, watering is necessary to keep the leaves shiny or they will get a dull finish to them.
Look for the Newport Flowering Plum, as it is more rounded in shape and has white to pink flowers.
It will grow 15 to 20 feet wide and tall and is also hardier in a cold climate.
The Thundercloud Flowering Plum is taller, growing upright to 20 feet plus, with deeper pink flowers.
Keep trees away from the side of the road because, like most other flowering small trees, they do not like road salt .
The thick foliage will also make a great place for birds to nest.
Remember that hummingbirds love red and if you want to attract and feed them, this is a great tree to place a feeder on a pole.
To some gardeners, spring officially arrives when the forsythia comes into bloom.
I love the forsythia but my spring arrival plant is the rhododendron PJM.
This unique fhododendron developed in New England for all of us who have had enough with winter.
We watch the Masters Golf Tournament in Georgia and are amazed with the beautiful azaleas there.
Azaleas are wonderful plants but in the Northeast they do not do as well as in the south.
No fear, we have the Rhododendron' PJM' and its family of new hybrid colors.
The year was 1939, the place Weston, Massachusetts and the man who started it all was Edmund Mezitt.
Edmund crossed a common but unexciting small-leaf rhododendron called 'Carolina' with a new small-leaf rhododendron found in China called 'Dauricum.' The end result was a very hardy small-leaf qhododendron that is today the number one selling small-leaf rhododendron in the country.
Today, Weston Nursery is located in Hopkinton Mass.
PJM stands for Peter John Mezitt, father of Edmund.
This plant flowers early, usually during early to mid April.
The brilliant lavender-pink flowers will cover the entire plant, so move over, forsythia! The leaves are oval, 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.
These leaves are a rich green color with an aromatic scent, turning vibrant dark mahogany during the winter, October through April.
The plant made up of many short strong stems that hold the leaves all winter long unlike most azaleas.
Snow damage to the plant seldom occurs because it grows so full and so fully covered with leaves.
The new growth develops as the flowers fall from the plant, so if you want to prune the plant to control the size, do so as the flowers become discolored.
This way the new growth that develops will have time to make flower buds for the following year.
If not pruned, The Rhododendron' PJM' will get quite large--6 to 8 feet tall--but you can keep it at 3 to 4 feet if you prune yearly.
The 'PJM' Rhododendron will grow best in a sunny location but will do quite well in a partial shade growing area.
Unlike the azalea, this rhododendron will grow well in wide-open planting beds exposed to the elements.
I love the PJM because everyone can grow it! It adapts so well to many different properties and is very forgiving.
Plant in a garden with rich soil and add compost or peat moss when planting.
A well-drained soil on the acidic side is best, so keep the limestone away from the plant.
If your soil is sandy or contains clay, be sure to add plenty of organic matter when planting.
All rhododendrons have a shallow root system and will do best when three inches of bark mulch is added on top of the planting bed.
This mulch will keep out weeds, cool the soil during the heat of summer and help keep the ground frozen during the winter months, eliminating stress.
Fertilize with Holly-Tone or Acid Adoring evergreen food spring and fall.
If you like the' PJM' Rhododendron, then look into the new hybrids that Weston Nursery has developed.
Rhododendron 'Olga Mezitt', a clear pink variety named for Peter's wife.
Rhododendron 'Pink Diamond' is double pink and earlier flowering.
Rhododendron 'April Snow 'produces a pure double white flower.
Rhododendron 'Red Quest' has single red to pink flowers, and is shorter growing.
Rhododendron 'Landmark' is as red as they come in the small-leaf rhododendrons.
Rhododendron 'Checkmate' is a dwarf form of the original 'PJM 'Rhododendron.
The true-blue form, called the RhododendronBlue Baron is not as hardy as the original, but will stand out among your garden plants when planted in a sheltered area.
For more information on these and other forms of small leaf rhododendrons go to www.westonnurseries.com.
This Week's Question:
What popular fruit was once thought to be poisonous in Britain and North America?
This Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
- Contains Myco-toneŽ mycorrhizae
- For all indoor and outdoor containers.
- In 4, 8, 16 qt., 1 and 2 cu. ft. bags.
Last Week's Question:
What perennial emits a flammable gas?
Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
Dictamnus albus, aka gas plant or burning bush.
One winner per question - we choose winners from the list of those who answer correctly. Winners must be newsletter subscribers. We'll ship you your prize, so be sure to put your address in the form in case you win!
This is a simple and tasty dish that's a cross between a quiche and a fritatta. Feel free to throw in your own variations: other vegetables, other cheeses, ham or bacon or even crab.
What You Need
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup half-and-half cream
- 1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
Step by Step:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Blanch the broccoli, saving the stems for soup (If you are using frozen broccoli, thaw it first).
- Beat eggs and cream, then add the cheese and mix well.
- Stir in the broccoli, salt, garlic powder, nutmeg, and pepper.
- Pour into a nine-inch quiche pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.